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The last day of winter came for Lolly Dinks this
year ; for me, too, and for Fancie. Soon the last day
in our city-house will come, and we shall all be going
up and down the countr)', as gay and crooked in our
paths as the butterfl)'-'s flight over the fields and
Last night the pale, golden-haired poet, Milton,
turned his old, green arm-chair round, and I heard
" Fancy then returns into her private cell
When nature rests."
He shone like a cloud with a silver lining in his
dark dress ; the bookcase door clapped to, and I saw
a row of silent books, merelj'-. I understood why
Fancie wanted to come to town. In the long, stern,
cold sleep. of Nature, behind the mask of snow and
ice, what would have become of her if left out of
doors? There is nothing but seed vessels for her
to travel over the country in. The leaves are dead
and brittle, the briars sharp and dry, the berries hard
and tasteless ; nothing green in the woods but the
solitary holly-bush, which the Christ-child keeps alive
for Christmas, and the ground-pine, which softly
creeps below the leaf mould, twisting its green ropes
and its pretty feather-shaped leaves yards and yards,
as if it were a telegraph wire for the moles and other
creatures who wish to hear from each other promptly.
Fancie's grandmother lives at the root of an oak, and
on sunny days she comes out, and sits on the green
rope, and holds a leaf over her head for a parasol,
and to keep off the wind. The singing birds have
flown for the most part over the sea ; a few are hid
in swamps and tree-trunks. Every flower-root is in
a fit of somnambulism. The queen could not provide
Fancie with a private cell ; she did not wish to put
her out to board in the hut of the field-mouse, or in
the mole's galler)'. The}' said if she came she must
go down to the brook to bathe ; they could not bear
water or air. Therefore, under the pretext of amus-
ing me, the queen had sent Fancie in the closet.
" Ah, Missis," cried Fancie, while I was writing this
on paper, "you have treated me well, and )'ou shall
see the buds and bells of Maj', the speckled eggs in
the mossy nests, and you shall see me swing on the
yellow daffodil, and take a nap inside the lad)'-slipper.
Mercy, Missis ! what has come ? "
She hops up my pen-handle, and stretches out her
"Is that the garden of Eden, Missis.' and shall we
see grandpa Adam again? You know when he
dropped his first tear in the garden, a fairy ring ap-
peared in the green sward, and present!)' the first
fairy rose up. I am not sure he noticed it, for his
eyes were set upon the arbor where grandma Eve
I was not surprised at Fancie's amazement, for she
saw my flower-ship, which Lord Sutt, a printer, sent
me in the middle of a moonlight night. A white and
gold flower-ship, whose hull was filled with the red-
dest and whitest of flowers. The ship rested upon
a basin of flowers also, as if she were floating over a
flowery sea; all round the sea-marge were Egyptian
Calla lilies, that lolled out their long yellow tongueS'
as if they were longing for the Nile-bees to come and
flour themselves in the thick pollen. There were
roses, carnations, camellias, lilies-of-the-valley, hya-
cinths ; and the masts and ropes of the ship were
twined with green smilax. Four little life-boats hung
from the side of the ship, packed full of violets.
" Was Lord Sutt born in a chimney? "
" He was born where Lolly Dinks was born."
She turned up her nose at the mention of a mere
little boy, and swaying her arms up and down, pirou-
etting first on one foot and then on the other, she
fluttered from the pen towards the flower-ship, and
lighted upon the gilded ropes of the mainmast. To
my surprise, she ordered me to open the door of m)'
goldfinch's cage. I may not have mentioned m)'
goldfinch, named Bright Eye by Lolly Dinks. He
is a scoundrel, and if there was a State's prison for
birds of his feather, he would be there this moment,
making shoes for his fellow-criminals' claws. Last
Christmas day he arrived here in a red and green
cottage, which was hung in the window. He ap-
peared like a respectable bird, chirped and hopped in
a lively manner, and interested me so that I decided
to buy a Mrs. Goldfinch for him. I bought one, and
put her in his cottage. He nipped her, pulled out
her feathers, scolded at her, and ^ould not sing a
note. One day all her feathers stood up, and I knew
she was heart-broken ; so I took her out of his cot-
tage, and she died in a short time. As Fancie order-
ed me, I opened the door, and he flew out to the
flower-ship, close to her, and began to gnaw the
gilded ropes. He looked very vain, and declared
that they were pure gold, much better than the flow-
ers, and he could scratch off a dollar's worth.
" Poor, deceived Dr. Watts," said Fancie sadly.
" Birds have failed me ; I thought they were all live
flowers — sweet, pure, and innocent — and this little
wretch talks of dollars. Missis, our queen wants
me. May I go home in the life-boat here, which is
full of violets ?"
" First, my little Fancie, we must bid farewell to
our friends, and I am afraid to let you go till the ane-
mone blooms in the bleak woods."
"I heard the sap sing a week ago; I suppose I
shall miss the cheese. You can give good-bye for
me to the friends."
" Cheese, Fancie, what do you mean ? "
"And dust, cinders, above all, the human crowd
smell. I am not quite sure how I can get out of the
tangle in your air of human speech. Missis, I see a
thousand curves and threads crossing each other,
making a great web, that rises and rises like a
balloon in the sk}'. It is all words, and where is it
trying to get to? "
" Heaven, Fancie."
She looked dull and dumb, and then I recollected
that fairies have no spirits, and so cannot under-
stand what the land of souls means. We say, too,
that animals have no souls, and trees, and flowers.
Why did not Bright Eye sing, while I kept his new
mate in his cage ? Why do trees wave so mysteri-
ousl)' in the wind ? I think the)' are begging to be
taken from the ground, that they may have the
chance of making stump speeches in other parts of
the world. And why do flowers send out odors
when night comes, even those cut from their stalks
and put in vases? The feeblest fading rose will send
a tide of perfume through a room, when he cannot
stir an inch. But I must change the subject.
" Fancie, where are you ? " She was not on the
flower-ship, neither was Bright Eye. She had made
a bridle of smilax, put it round his neck, and was
riding on his back up and down m)' new chintz lam-
" Am I up high enough for your heaven. Missis ? "
she called. "See me ride the jockey hitch. Bright
Eye does not gallop at all."
"Let him fly, .Pancie, and come down quickly;
something may hurt you," I said. Bright Eye de-
clared she squeezed his wings so he could not fly.
She boxed his ears, and lost her hold, and he flut-
tered softly down to my desk, the gold wire sticking
to his bill, and Fancie all a-dust with flower-meal.
"I wanted to try the fields of space first," she said.
" As I told you, I shall miss everything ; the cockroach
school. Granny Musculus and her cheese, old Ear-
wig's shabby trousers — all. They wait for me now."
" Who waits, my little pet ? "
She nodded towards the window, and I looked up
at the roof opposite ; high up in the air on the coping
stood a row of purple and white pigeons, their heads
on one side, and their eyes fixed on m)' window.
"The queen's messengers," whispered Fancie, se-
riously. I felt a strange flutter near, and for an
instant I could not see. Fancie spoke again, as if
she were further off.
" Your memory of me, by and by, will remind you
of those colored flakes and sprays of seaweed one
collects and spreads on paper. I shall be a film in
\'Our mind. Missis. Farewell, farewell ! "
I opened my eyes. Far down the street, high up
in the air, I saw the pigeons flying ; my little Fancie
" Wh)', mother,," cried Lolly Dinks, " have you
been smoking a cigar ? Look at your desk."
Alas, the closet had gone. A tiny cone of white
ashes stood in its place, which Lolly Dinks with vig-
orous breath blew away.
" Now, perhaps, you will come away," he said. " I
am tired of seeing you scratch with your pen."
" What will you do without Fancie, Loll)' Dinks ? "
" I love giants and apes, and what you did when
you were young best. Tell me, mother, what you did
in your early life." — Lolly Dinks' s Mother.
Poets High Born. — It is very singular that no
one poet should have arisen from the lower classes,
when it is considered that every peasant who can
read knows more of books now than old ^schylus,
Sophocles, or Homer; yet, if we except Burns, none
such have been. — Coleridge.
ON AN ISLAND.
One morning William Nicholson put out from
shore in his good boat the " Dew Drop," and come
rain, come shine, he cared not. He fancied that by
getting away from solid land he would get away from
misery; and that, whatever might befall him, out was
better than in. He was not of a hasty temper, nor
of an unresting spirit. He was steady and strong, and
good for a long pull, but he must have his freedom ;
and if one kind of restriction could be worse for him
than another that particular kind was tormenting
him. In his journey of life he had hit upon a path
so narrow, and so difficult, that the probability of a
precipice, a little further on, was not without attrac-
Had he been on the mainland, just now, he would
not have pushed the " Dew Drop " from the beach,
with such a sky overhead. He would have gone to
the wharf, the market, the street corner, or to some
bright warm hole under ground, and, among men,
have talked off his disgust, or displeasure. But he
could not do that, where he was, for the reason that
the " Dew Drop Inn " was the only house on the
island. He was as alone in that unnamed place as
Adain and Eve were outside the Garden. Who can
believe that the pair walked off into the wilderness
and had no misunderstanding by the way?
When they went out to the island in the spring,
he, and Sarah and the boys, what hopes had they 1
Sarah had worked all winter over a sewing-machine,
and had fallen into the hands of a newspaper-item
man by her achievements ; but she had lost vastly
more than she had gained in reputation, or in furni-
ture. Vital forces had become so impaired, nerves so
exasperated, that the laziest girl in Cowesport might
point at her as a witness to the folly of earning fifty
dollars a week at the cost of poor Body, which was
thrown into a condition no amount of mere money,
Sarah's mind was so active — she was in many
wa)'s so efficient still, this little, round-faced, brown-
haired, black-eyed woman, that the difficulty was to
find her a sphere in which she could regain her equi-
librium. The doctor shook his head when he had
visited her, not in a professional way, but a:fter a^
most sympathizing and affecting. fashion. He saw
what the ambition of the woman had been, and he
grieved at the ignorance which had sustained her in
it at so great a cost. " She is on the direct road to
the Asylum," he said to William.
" What Asylum ? " asked the husband, half indigo
nant, half horrified. The doctor laid his finger on
his forehead. " Curse the sewing machine ! " cried
" Yes," said the doctor, " in the hands of a smart
woman, who must always go ahead of her neighbors,
it is a cursed invention. I had a girl on my hands,
last month, who had brought herself into a condition
that put sleep or rest out of the question. She lasted:
so a week, and then died, and I was glad to see her
breathe her last."
William covered his face with his hands, and his-,
soul sank within him. How he had boasted through;
Cowesport of his wife's feats on the sewing machine !'
"What shall I do ? " he asked.
" Could you take her away from everybody — where
she will have new scenery, new interests, and no
chance to show off? "
" I don't see how, or where."
" Think of it. You ought to be able to make sacri-
fices for the woman, and the boys."
" Don't talk about sacrifices. I'll do anything.
" Take her out of Cowesport then. A general
ought not to be permitted to stay on the field of his
defeat. You have your chance ; but I wouldn't give
much for it."
So William racked his brain. Inspiration did not
help him ; — he was rather slow in planning, unassist-
ed. He must think for Sally now ; not by her, nor
with her. Hitherto she had been as a battery whence
the spark proceeds. The thing now was to commu-
nicate to her the kindling fire — not receive it from
After a period of incessant and determined endeav-
ors, most mortals are enabled to see their way clear
through ordinary fog. William bethought him of the
island where, in his early youth, he found such days
of joy ; and one afternoon he went down there alone
to reconnoitre. It lay there still, smiling in solitude;
an island, three miles in length, furnished with rocks
and bushes, a solitary pine-tree, and a solitary cabin,'
built long ago, in days when parties of pleasure used